Consumers today are tethered to technology more than ever before. Hardly a person leaves their home without toting a device of some sort that enables them to talk, text, email, or chat. A study by eMarketer bears out the prevalence of this on-the-go connectivity. It states that, on average, U.S. adults spend nearly three and one-half hours each day on non-voice mobile device usage—that’s up by more than 50% from just five years ago.
As a result of this continual connectivity and array of options for communicating with friends and family, consumers have developed new expectations for the contact centers of businesses and organizations. Customers today look for contact center agents to engage them across all communications channels whether that’s over the phone, through social networks on their mobile devices, by email, or through a live chat session. According to ICMI, customers require a multichannel experience and almost 90% of them expect companies to pass them to the channel that quickly resolves their situation. Just as important to note, however, is that 36% of customers said that they’d move to a competitor that offered more ways to communicate. The pressure is on for the modern call center manager to meet the needs of the customer.
A Smarter Approach to Customer Interactions for the Contact Center
While the idea of serving customers is essential, most companies are struggling with how to use their contact centers to care for all of those customers, using all of those devices. Most businesses worry about having their agents drown in a sea of social posts and email inquiries, unable to act quickly on what’s truly actionable. They worry about how to filter, sort, classify, and route incoming emails and social posts to the right agent. They may also lack proper tooling for agent assistance. Lastly, most organizations find it challenging to monitor and measure performance across all of these new channels based on their standard performance metrics.
To solve these problems, some companies have turned to third-party providers that take an innovative approach to omnichannel applications. By using technologies that include natural language processing (NLP) to filter and categorize customer interactions, eliminate spam and determine sentiment, businesses provide better customer experiences. Making this type of tech even more useful is its ability to work across social, mobile, chat, and email applications. Because every organization is different, the best providers are also able to incorporate business-rules and a routing engine to prioritize and distribute interactions to the appropriate agent based on the unique needs of the business. Additionally, NLP and advanced search engines can add power to agent assistance tools, helping the agents to resolve issues quickly.
Choice Is a Gateway to Meeting Other Expectations
On the whole, businesses seem to be doing a good job of resolving customer inquiries with a 60% average first-time resolve rate. The key to ensuring the meaningful customer journey is to make sure that the customer experience is seamless regardless of the channel they use to connect to the contact center. It’s also imperative to remember that customers have other expectations beyond channel choice. For instance, they also want human interaction, 24/7 access, reduced hold times and quick problem resolution by knowledgeable, friendly agents that are guided by advanced reporting and analytics.
The relationships between a company and its customers are continually evolving. Keeping this dynamic at the forefront is essential in constructing the modern contact center. This is particularly important as roughly 32% of customers say they will leave a company after even one bad experience. While there are lots of actionable tips for optimizing the contact center, offering a choice of contact methods that is seamless and proactive is the right step to ensuring your organizations meets their expectations.